The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 10, July 1906 - April, 1907 Page: 80
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Texas Historical Association Quarterly.
ber as he shall consider necessary of the militia which the state
has in the departments wherein hostilities are committed, and for
paying or remunerating the militiamen, he may take of the vacant
lands to the amount of four hundred sitios, distributing them
agreeably to the rules and conditions he shall establish.
"Art. 3. For the present twenty thousand dollars are hereby
appropriated, of the first receipts of the state treasury for sales of
lands made by virtue of the law on the subject." Just a year
later, April 14, 1835, another law declared that the executive could
not dispose of the four hundred sitios of land mentioned in article
2nd of this law, "except solely for the object which said law deter-
mines"; but "agreeably to the aforementioned law the executive
has been, and is, authorized to contract the aforementioned lands,
or to distribute them, as he shall think most proper, among the
militia men, who prosecute the war against the savages."2
It was under this law of April 19, 1834, that S. M. Williams,
Robert Peebles, and F. W. Johnson obtained their grant for four
hundred leagues, as will later appear. But Chambers declares that
Mason also manipulated it to accomplish on a comparatively small
scale what Chambers had previously prevented his doing on a very
large one. Chambers's statement, in brief, is, that the Indians
really were troubling the frontiers and that the law was passed in
good faith to provide a means of suppressing them. It was the
intention of the law that the land should be distributed to the
militia, and not sold, but by a trick in the enrolment of the bill it
was so changed as to authorize the governor to sell it to anybody,-
1Decree No. 278, in Gammel, Laws of Texas, I 270-71. Articles 2 and 3
are important, therefore it may be advisable to give the Spanish:
"Art. 2. A este fin dispondrk en el nfimero que concid6re necesario de
la milicia que el Estado tiene en los departamentos hostilizados, y para
pagar 6 premiar & los milicianos podr hechar mano de las tierras valdfas
hasta en cuantidad de cuatrocientos sitios, repartiendolos bajo las reglas
y condiciones que establesca.
"Art. 3. Por ahora se designan viente mil pesos de lo primero que
ingrese al tesoro del Estado, por las ventas de tierras que se hagan en
virtud de la ley de la materia."-Laws of Coahuila and Texas.
'Decree No. 299, in Gammel, Laws of Texas, I 397.
'Pamphlet of ,Wm. N. Chambers, 37; Yoakum, History of Texas, I 321,
note. Chamber's own explanation of the trick is as follows: "The article
of the decree relating to the subject . . . provided that the troops
should be paid, or rewarded, with vacant lands, in the following terms:
"Y para pagar 6 premiar d los milicianos podra hechar mano de las
tierras valdias hasta in cantidad de cuatro cientos sitios, repartendoselos
bajo las reglas y condiciones que establesca." These were the terms:
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Texas State Historical Association. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 10, July 1906 - April, 1907, periodical, 1907; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101040/m1/88/: accessed July 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.